Without further adieu, the winners and losers of the fiscal cliff deal are …

In all deals, there are winners and losers. Such is life. Which is why they invented the scoreboard.
Bloggers, of course, were prime winners. It gave us a mother lode of material to pontificate about with purple prose. And all of you, who get to spit my purple prose right back in my face. Don’t you just love how interactive the online world can be?
Barack Obama and Joe Biden were winners, of course. These guys are on a bigger roll than the bowlers on the PBA tour.
Mitch McConnell, who somehow forgot his pledge to block the president at every turn and stepped forward to help craft legislation that Republicans could support. What got into him?
Other winners flashing their high beams:
Middle-class taxpayers: With the Bush tax cuts set to extend for individuals making less than $400,000, middle- and upper-middle class taxpayers no longer are on suicide watch. The Alternative Minimum Tax will be permanently lifted to reflect inflation, sparing close to 30 million taxpayers from a tax increase. Of course, they weren’t totally spared. The payroll tax cut won’t be extended for another year, meaning that working Americans will see their paychecks reduced in 2013. This might be a good year to cut back on drinking, smoking, driving and eating.
Seniors: Geezers won’t be feeling the pain of entitlement cuts, despite initial insistence from Republican lawmakers that significant cuts to Medicare or Social Security be part of a fiscal cliff deal. The battle to prevent a switch to chained CPI, a metric that would reduce the growth of Social Security payments, has been won, at least for now. Seniors hopefully now won’t spend their sunset years wallowing in sickness and poverty.
Now the losers, and they know who they are.
John Boehner, who apparently no longer can rally his troops. He must have caught Andy Reid disease. His Plan B included too many tax increases and not enough spending cuts for Republicans to stomach. They would have had a better chance swallowing squid and peanut butter sandwiches.
Deficit hawks: Going over the fiscal cliff would have significantly reduced the deficit, combining cuts to domestic and military spending with tax hikes on pretty much everyone. The last-minute deal didn’t do anything to cut spending. Granted, the absurd deficit makes all of us losers, especially our kids.
The Treasury: The United States hit its borrowing limit Monday, and lawmakers failed to include raising the limit as part of the cliff deal. The Treasury Department will enact what it calls “extraordinary measures” to avoid a government default, but it can only protect the nation’s credit for so long. The coming months are going to be a bloodbath over whether, and how, to raise the debt ceiling. Hide the women and the children.
The 1 percent: Wealthy Americans who make their money from investments, rather than paychecks. In addition to higher income taxes, those who make above $400,000 will now be subject to a 20 percent tax rate on their capital gains and dividends. Still, they don’t have to slash their wrists with their gilded knives. They can still bequeath up to $5 million tax-free, with any additional money taxed at 40 percent. That’s greater than the current 35 percent estate tax rate, but less than the 55 percent rate on assets over $1 million that would have gone into effect without a deal.

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